After nearly two years of development, planning and preparation, Renewable Properties, a developer and investor in small-scale utility and community solar projects, has begun construction on the Lake Herman Solar Project, the largest in Benicia, California.
The 5-MWac (7-MWdc) utility-scale solar project located in Solano County, is the first to qualify for MCE’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Plus program. FIT Plus is an expanded wholesale energy supply program designed to provide competitive and predictable energy prices over 20-year terms for locally developed renewable energy assets.
“We are thankful that the Benicia City Council saw the merits of the project and it being the right project in the right location,” said Aaron Halimi, president of Renewable Properties. “We worked closely with community stakeholders, MCE and city staff for over a year to revise the project design, addressing all requests and concerns. The end result is a better project and a win-win-win for all involved.”
This is the fourth utility-scale solar project Renewable Properties has developed in partnership with MCE and the community choice provider’s first project to break ground in Solano County. The Lake Herman Solar Project will increase Benicia’s solar output by 64% from 7.8 MW to 12.8 MW and will begin producing locally sourced clean energy when given permission to operate in the spring of 2021.
“We see the Lake Herman Solar Project as a necessary bold step in fighting climate change,” said Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson. “I’m proud of the collaborative effort exhibited by Renewable Properties, city staff and local stakeholders because we’ve come up with a project that significantly increases our solar output by 64%, protects open space and creates high-paying local union jobs.”
Using single-axis tracking technology, the array’s 17,696 bifacial solar modules and 40 string inverters, will be installed on a 35-acre portion of a larger 88-acre property, leaving the remaining 53 undeveloped acres for continued livestock grazing protected under a deed restriction. Once complete, the solar energy project will produce enough electricity to power 1,700 single-family homes annually.
“MCE is proud to be able to partner with Renewable Properties on our first renewable energy project built in Solano County and the City of Benicia,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “This project is not only MCE’s first FIT Plus project under construction, but also marks the development of new clean energy, local jobs and economic benefits in all four of the counties we serve. Since 2010 partners like Renewable Properties have helped us reinvest over $180 million back into our community through programs and projects just like this one.”
Like the recently announced Soscol Ferry Road Solar Project in neighboring Napa County, and Silveira Ranch Solar Project in Marin County; the Lake Herman solar project includes a vegetation management plan that affords the developers an opportunity to incorporate permaculture principles and a pollinator plant meadow.
News item from Renewable Properties